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Dreams of Rocketships

I've never been nominated for a Hugo, never even come close, not in all the years I was a fanzine writer, not as a storyteller, and certainly not as a filker.

The filker thing is a sore point for me. There are fan writer, fanzine, and fan artist categories, after all. Why are fan musicians ignored? But it's more than that, really.

Like I said, I used to do fanzines. I stopped--and I can pinpoint when, in retrospect. It's when all the "friends" I had who thought fan writing was a big deal not only were unwilling to support a filk Hugo, but they were really nasty about it. Laughing in my face was the least of it. It was like getting a series of slaps in the face, though actual hands weren't swung. It made me flinch away from those people, and focus my energy in areas of fandom where I wasn't being ridiculed and belittled.

Still, the dream remains. Someday, maybe, if I get good enough, I might win a Hugo. It's a very long term dream--not a goal, really; for a lot of reasons, but mostly in my mind, "goals" is a label for things that are more in my control. But still, the Hugo is one of the markers high on the speculative fiction mountain, and knowing it's up there helps keep me focused on writing and learning skills to keep climbing toward my goals.

In the last year, that dream has seemed a little more real to me than before, not because I was doing anything different, but because for once the Hugos weren't dominated by people who happened to be heterosexual white men. Over and over I've seen the hype (in Hugos and elsewhere) go mostly to men, despite the huge number of very talented women in the field. Even back when I was talking about a filk Hugo, there was a distinctly misogynistic aspect to the comments people made to my face. I can only imagine what they were saying behind my back.

So this whole "sad/rabid puppy slate" thing feels just like another set of slaps in the face. Not only are these "puppies" unwilling to welcome people like me into the fold, they chose to to reach out to people known for trollery and death threats to try to keep us from even getting on the ballot. Like, you know, those were their natural allies.

In looking to see who was on the slates, I also saw that "for a small fee, you can vote". In a world where women make significantly less than men (even women nurses earn less than men nurses, and that's a traditionally female field), the fee is a larger part of women's budgets. I can't speak for all women, but I know that the fee isn't "small" to me. As much as I hate it, I've mostly resigned myself to living in a world where gender matters more than competence, but this was just one more slap. These guys are apparently happy to use their bigger economic power to further the goal of keeping us down.

The whole thing bothers me. This is an aspect of life that I don't want in my politics, much less in my fandom.

So, I saw posts about the slates and the Hugo nominees, but I was trying not to think about it much. I was doing the real work of a writer--planning stories while I reviewed paperwork and worked on my taxes. Then I saw someone saying (and I paraphrase), "I'm not a sad puppy, I worked hard." That's what led me to seeking out the slates. I found, to my dismay, that he was on both of them.

To be fair, I believe he did work hard--but so did the people in his category who weren't on the slates. So did all of the people who were qualified to be nominated in the other categories too. I do art and writing and, as a musician, dramatic performance. Doing any of those well requires hard work. Heck, doing them even at a mediocre level is hard work.

So now I am left wondering, is this guy really one of the puppies, who is trying to further game the system by claiming otherwise? Or was he put on the slate and didn't know? It's possible, despite his connections in the field, that he was just as clueless that he was on those slates as other people were clueless that there was a conspiracy to keep certain kinds of people off the ballot. If so, it's possible that he still didn't know about the slates when he accepted the nomination.

If all of that is true, then this situation is unfair to him. By putting together a slate and by going outside of the community to get more votes, the people who made the slates ensured that he will never know if he would have been nominated without their scheming. They ensured that if he does win a Hugo this year, people will always wonder if he deserved it. They are the reason people are already wondering if he deserved the nomination, or if he's on the ballot because the slate-makers approve of his politics.

Similarly, it is unfair to the people who were put on one or both slates, and who removed themselves from consideration from the Hugos only because they were unwilling to benefit from what they (and I) feel was an unfair nomination practice--though they, at least, get (and deserve) kudos and recognition for their integrity.

I don't need to mention why this was unfair to the people who didn't get recognition they did earn and would otherwise have received, had the slates never happened.

I'm so sad about the whole thing. It isn't fair to anyone, and it wasn't the kind of unfairness that's unavoidable (for instance, disease or bad luck). Someone engineered this unfairness on purpose. And I hate it when people go out of their way to be unfair to other people.

I started this post needing to express this overwhelming sadness, but as I got to the end of my ramblings, I realized that underneath the sadness I am angry--those rocketships are supposed to be fueling my dreams, not making me sad.

Oh, well, they're just a signpost along the way. Those people may be able to steal or deface the sign (temporarily) but no matter how much they try to own the whole mountain, speculative fiction is way too big for any one faction to own it.

Now, that I can set the sadness aside (at least temporarily), I'm off to claim a bit of that mountain the proper way--by doing the work, writing and submitting the stories, and hopefully enriching a lot of people's lives thereby. And if a bunch of those words are fueled by my anger, well, that's a constructive use for that kind of energy. I can live with that.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2015 12:04 pm (UTC)
I hate politics. I hate manipulators and controllers and all that interfering garbage. And I'm really sorry to see this eruption of the above in fandom and speculative fiction. Not that we haven't had eruptions of interference and general Bad Manners Garbage before...but getting through it again (whether through pounding the perps down or just outlasting them) is an irritating prospect.

Since I've been on the fringes for some time, I'll need to look into these "slates" so I know better what is going on.

I'm sorry you've been disturbed, saddened, angered. Your plan to dig in to write and submit sounds like a great plan to me. I enjoy your visions.
Apr. 7th, 2015 09:45 pm (UTC)
I share your sorrow -- and I'm inspired by your conclusion. A constructive use for that energy. Thank you.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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